iNDICA NEWS BUREAU
The battle for control of India’s digital grocery shopping, something that has increased manifold during the pandemic, is heating up.
Indian e-commerce platform Flipkart Thursday announced the acquisition of 100 percent interest in Walmart India as it launched Flipkart Wholesale, a new digital marketplace that it said would to help transform the kirana – small shops – retail ecosystem in the country.
The announcement marks the consolidation of Walmart’s business in India. The American retail giant controls Flipkart.
The announcement also comes on the heels of Reliance Industries announcing that its e-commerce portal JioMart will offer kirana stores.
Flipkart Wholesale will launch operations in August 2020 and will pilot services for the grocery and fashion categories. It will be headed by Adarsh Menon, a veteran at Flipkart.
Walmart India operates the Best Price cash-and-carry business which currently supports more than 1.5 million members, including local stores and other medium and small enterprises.
Walmart India CEO Sameer Aggarwal will remain with the company to ensure a smooth transition, after which time he will move to another role within Walmart, Flipkart said.
“For over a decade, we’ve been committed to India’s prosperity by serving kiranas (mom and pop stores) and MSMEs, supporting smallholder farmers and building global sourcing and technology hubs throughout the country,” Judith McKenna, president and CEO, Walmart International, said in a statement.
“Today marks the next big step as Walmart India’s pioneering cash-and-carry legacy meets Flipkart’s culture of innovation in the launch of Flipkart Wholesale.”
Kiranas and MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) are central to India’s retail ecosystem and Flipkart Wholesale will focus on meeting their needs by providing small businesses a wide selection at significant value, powered by technology to make their lives easier, the e-commerce major said.
“The acquisition of Walmart India adds a strong talent pool with deep expertise in the wholesale business that will strengthen our position to address the needs of kiranas and MSMEs uniquely,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, the Flipkart Group CEO.
(with inputs from IANS)